Thoughts on Thursday’s Announcements and What’s Happening Wednesday

– The biggest surprise is that the new MacBook Pros do not receive a solid state solution similar to the MacBook Air (not even an OS solid state volume). You can replace your hard drive with a solid state drive, but that option is just as expensive as it used to be. So the MacBook Pros did not get the instant on features or battery life improvements that the MacBook Air received. This omission is a deal breaker for MoD in upgrading our MacBook Pro. And makes me wonder if a hypothetical 15 inch MacBook Air with Thunderbolt is in future laptop.

– Moderate surprise, no increase in screen resolution across the board. No redesign of the overall hardware design.

– Thunderbolt is going to change the future design of all Macs. The Mac Mini with Sandy Bridge processors, improved graphics, and Thunderbolt becomes a great little computer and server machine. 3rd Party vendors are going to build incredible dock solutions for MacBooks via Thunderbolt. With the advances in LED LCDs, is it possible the iMac become a two piece component now that Thunderbolt can handle all the I/O from the monitor base (significantly thinner) to the computer base? Laptops are going to become thinner with just Thunderbolt ports in the future giving unlimited expandability when your laptop returns to your desk.

– iPad 2 getting a Thunderbolt port? Well the iPad 2 might get a Mini-Display port for video out, but would that port also be a Thunderbolt port? If so the iPad would be gaining a variety of potential capabilities, only limited by iOS features and the memory/processing power on it’s circuit board. The first initial product that MoD would create if it is a Thunderbolt port would be a Thunderbolt flash drive to increase memory and allow the iPad 2 to perform backups. Thunderbolt syncing could sync the entire iPad in seconds. As much as MoD thinks that this would be a great feature, it seems like a bit of overkill for the iPad. Also, how does the Thunderbolt controller fit into the slim real estate given to the iPad circuit board attached to a great battery.

Daring Fireball stated it, Apple released new hardware, a new revolutionary I/O technology, and a new beta of their flagship desktop OS (more on that in a second) without a media event. So what’s coming Tuesday that deserves an event? We know that it’s iPad related. To merit a media event, iPad 2 had better have some sizzle to it, and not just a FaceTime camera (and certainly not be a device to be replaced by the real iPad 2 this fall). Engadget is again stating that the “new” iPad will not have SD card slot or an updated screen resolution, unfortunately these rumored features have created a sense of disappointment that the new iPad is really version 1.5 not 2.0. In addition, Apple better have some iOS 5 fireworks to show for the gathered media, including some new software innovations for the iPad and the iPhone.

– Back to the Mac OS X Lion Beta. So we have an awesome looking new email client (Sparrow guys, you just just lost your market), updated Address Book and Calendar apps looking like their superior iPad versions. This was expected to a degree but it wasn’t shown last October.If you watch one video from the Apple website, watch this video on how expansive multi-touch is going to be in Lion. Versions looks like a great every day extension of Time Machine technology. The new Airdrop feature if it can be extended to iPhones and iPads in addition to Macs, then Apple could have a seamless wireless transfer technology. There have been some basic Finder screenshots, not too much in the way of changes, we have not seen if there’s a full screen Finder yet. It looks like an excellent update and the midway step towards a synthesis of the two Apple OSes.

So how are the January predictions looking so far.

MoD missed on MacBook refresh predicting April.

MoD nailed the OS X Lion beta release for February with just a simple update on apple.com. MobileMe feature expansion was not announced (although we now know the new data center is for MobileMe and is ready to launch), so the cloud features that will be built into Lion are still under wraps. Airdrop would seem to be a natural technology to extend to MobileMe

And it looks like MoD will hit the iPad for March. However, rumors of the next gen iPad are already floating around.

MoD misses if the Tuesday even includes iOS 5 preview and then  we will see if any of our iOS 5 features hit.

That’s it for prediction for the first half of the year and after the March event, it’s doubtful we will see another media event. MobileMe relaunch isn’t big enough to justify it’s own event.

April/May may be quiet, but if WWDC falls on early June as predicted with dual OS launches in Lion and iOS 5 and the new iPhone and a potential iPhone Nano, twin launches of the new hardware on AT&T and Verizon, the rest of the Summer will be pretty wild.

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